Tag Archives: Domino

The Kills cover Rihanna

Video: The Kills – “Desperado” (Rihanna Cover)

The Kills – Desperado (Rihanna Cover) (Non-Electric)

From the Echo Home – Non-Electric EP, out June 2 on Domino Records with a limited edition 10” vinyl release due August 18.

Let’s count the number of acoustic covers of hip hop songs that don’t suck. Zero? Sounds about right.

Remember downloading the Gourd’s version of “Gin and Juice” in the earliest days of filesharing? We all got a good chuckle out of that one. Jonathan Coulton made “Baby Got Back” sound like a John Denver outtake. But the worst of this genre is Dynamite Hack’s “Boyz In The Hood”. There’s always a sense of “ha ha ha aren’t we cute? aren’t we funny? get it? because we’re not gangster at all!” which ends up kind of gross. Or maybe I’m a humorless grump.

Acoustic covers of pop songs, on the other hand, can strip away the glossy production to reveal the solid bones of the songwriting underneath. I still like Travis’ earnest cover of “Baby One More Time” which made me realize how sad that song really is (“my loneliness is killing me”).

This Rihanna cover is somewhere in between. It’s not jokey at all, but it doesn’t really shed any additional light on the original. It sounds cool, and Alison Mosshart’s voice is smoky and menacing as ever. Which is good enough for an acoustic b-side.

The Kills: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.

Continue reading The Kills cover Rihanna

New Animal Collective video: Today’s Supernatural

Video: Animal Collective – “Today’s Supernatural”

From Centipede Hz, due September 4 on Domino. Directed by Danny Perez.

Typically trippy video but the song is more straightforward organ-driven garage rock than some of their kookier, sample-heavy prior stuff. Still psychedelic though thanks to the crazy vocal effects.

The new album will not contain the “Honeycomb” single released back in May.

The Fall – Your Future Our Clutter

The Fall - Your Future Our ClutterThe FallYour Future Our Clutter (Domino)

“When do I quit?” Mark E. Smith asks listeners repeatedly during “Chino,” one of nine new offerings housed together for Your Future Our Clutter, the band’s first album in two years. The joke is that two years in between Fall albums is like an eternity. It was time well spent, and even Smith knows he’s delivered something special this time with his unmatched cynicism declaring it to be “a showcase of raw talent” a few minutes into the first track.

The concern is that M.E.S. is beginning to contemplate life after the Fall, but the optimist in me would counter that while Y.F.O.C. gives cryptic hints of finish lines, mortality, and growing old, it’s also an album where there’s a vibrancy to the production and the band is clearly on a roll as there aren’t any disruptions to the lineup since the last record, Imperial Wax Solvent.

Continue reading The Fall – Your Future Our Clutter

New Arctic Monkeys video: My Propeller

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “My Propeller”

Alex Turner is feeling aeronautically randy in the latest Arctic Monkeys single. “Coax me out, my love / And have a spin of my propeller.” Psst, I don’t think he’s talking about an actual propeller—I think he’s talking about his dingaling.

Arctic Monkeys: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

What is Indie? And is it dead?

I'd rather be dead than cool.Paste magazine asks the musical question, Is Indie Dead? It’s well worth reading, although the first page—with all its Nietzsche references and comparing “indie” to “God”—is a bit of a struggle…especially with our collective “tl;dr” attitude. But there are lots of insightful comments from folks like Kill Rock Stars founder Slim Moon, Sleater-Kinney‘s Carrie Brownstein, Sebadoh‘s Lou Barlow, and the actual guy who put Nick Drake‘s “Pink Moon” in that 2000 VW commercial.

Michael Azzerad, author of Our Band Could Be Your Life, breaks it down:

“The term ‘indie’ originally referred to labels which had no connection whatsoever to the major labels,” Azerrad says. “That used to be a meaningful distinction, because the underground wanted nothing to do with corporate America. Obviously, things have changed.” What’s changed is this: In addition to direct relationships like Sub Pop’s with Warner, most of the labels now widely considered to be “indie” powerhouses—like Domino, Merge and Matador—are distributed by the Alternative Distribution Alliance, majority-owned by Warner. This means that acts like Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, St. Vincent, Spoon, Arcade Fire and others noted as the seminal “indie” acts of our time are not actually “indie” at all. (Even Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the eponymous label founded by the band that became famous in 2005 for having no label, is distributed by the ADA.) Azerrad distinguishes these artists as part of a broader genre of “indie rock,” defined as a “genre which takes as its antecedents the truly indie rock of preceding generations,” he says. “It has nothing to do with the fiscal status of the label on which it is released. It should really be called ‘indie-influenced rock.'” The designation “indie” he reserves for artists making music on labels that remain wholly independent.

These days, most people don’t make that same distinction, perhaps because they don’t share Azerrad’s interest in semantics or his knowledge of history.

That’s hardcore. Maybe too hardcore. I agree with Brownstein who thinks that “the artistic and business decisions of the Matadors and the Sub Pops speak for themselves.” I’d throw Merge into there too, regardless who distributes their records. At least as long as they’re not more than 49% owned by a major label…right?

Tomato, tomahto. Indie, schmindie. Does it even matter? As long as the music is good, does anybody even care? Short anwer: yes.

Continue reading What is Indie? And is it dead?

Another new Animal Collective video: Brothersport

Video: Animal Collective – “Brothersport”

The fourth official video from Merriweather Post Pavilion, which was originally released on January 20, 2009. So much for the three month cyle!

The video was directed by Jack Kubizne and stars Christian Gravino as the Boy, Mianarei A.G. Poole as the Girl, Lindsey Flexner as the Man in Overalls, and Jake as Ant Man. Plus various dogs, chickens, and turtles. I bet the parents of those kids had to spend a couple weeks teaching them that it’s not okay to dump paint on the rug and throw eggs at the walls.

Previously: New Animal Collective video: In The Flowers; Animal Collective video: Summertime Clothes; New Animal Collective video: My Girls.

Animal Collective: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Arctic Monkeys video: Crying Lightning

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Crying Lightning”

We posted the audio stream a couple weeks ago, but here’s the official video for “Crying Lightning,” the single from Humbug, due August 25 on Domino. They’re apparently refugee zombies now…or something.

Arctic Monkeys: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki.

Continue reading Arctic Monkeys video: Crying Lightning

Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand

Franz FerdinandFranz Ferdinand (Domino)

History buffs will recall that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand marked the beginning of World War I. However, listeners who have recently heard the debut album by the Scottish band taking the same name will tell you Franz Ferdinand is a band that has released eleven songs complete with huge choruses, infectious guitar hooks, and forty minutes of ass-shaking good times.

Things get started with “Jacqueline,” which has lead singer Alex Kapronos lightly singing over acoustic guitar just prior to a bass menacingly kicking in and the entire band launching into an anthemic assault. The notion of ripping off your pinstripe suit and hitting the clubs in decadent partying is the mood for the remainder of the album as the chorus of “It’s always better on holiday / So much better on holiday / That’s why we only work when we need the money” will keep your foot tapping during long hours in the cubicle.

“Take Me Out” is an instant classic that starts as a laid back proposition to keep someone company until a minute into the song it totally changes pace with guitars and drums that would fit in any dancehall in the land. Even the most reserved bar hoppers are sure to have their hands above their heads as the emotion builds to a point where you can’t tell if Kapronos is on his knees begging for a shot or has completely buckled under the pressure and has resorted to self-loathing.

The band keeps welcoming the listener into their world of celebration with the “The Dark of the Matinee” which goes from the calm strumming and singing of being too cool for the scene before breaking into a frenetic chorus with swirling guitars and drums. It segues into the dark and brooding “Auf Achse” that falls somewhere in between an obsessive stalker or one that is not taking kindly to the idea they have just been dumped.

“This Fire” is sure to be a concert favorite with the band shouting out “We’re gonna burn this city!” and “Darts of Pleasure” (mp3) is an example of how the combination of driving dance rhythms and clever world play are going to be the trademark of Franz Ferdinand. “Michael” is flush with erotic lyrics and drumming. The line “So sexy / I’m sexy / So come and dance with me Michael” has the protagonist licking his lips for a chance to get closer to some of the boys moving on the dance floor.

Franz Ferdinand has released as exciting and promising a debut as you’re likely to hear in 2004. These are songs that are going to be in your head when you wake up, when you’re at work, and when you’re going out on a Saturday night. They are going to have you tapping your foot and shaking your ass and hitting the Play button over and over again. It’s at times derivative, sure. But that’s beside the point. You’ve got eleven songs that are going to increase your heart rate and make you turn up the volume belting out the lyrics. And you can’t really ask for more than that.

Download “Darts of Pleasure” via the Franz Ferdinand site. You can find the album at Amazon.

Manitoba – Up in Flames

ManitobaUp in Flames (Domino)

Dan Snaith must have been keeping a close eye on Doves over the last year or so. The Manchester trio pulled an about-face with last year’s The Last Broadcast, ditching the dark Madchester sound of their debut along with most of the electronic elements and releasing an album of big, spacious, astral pop last summer. It turned a few heads and garnered much praise for the band.

Snaith himself emerged as a card-carrying IDM superstar, thanks to his debut Start Breaking My Heart. And now, a little under a year since Doves released Broadcast, Snaith (under guise Manitoba) releases Up in Flames, an album that seriously pays homage to the blissful, sunny, psychedelic pop of the sixties. Flames is an album that drenches you in layer after layer of positivity, using a broad range of instruments from the smiley-smile arsenal: glockenspiels, Farfisas, saxophones, flutes and a barrage of others.

The interesting twist to Up in Flames though, is that the sound isn’t a total 180 from Snaith’s previous work. There are still moments, such as the breakdown on “Jacknuggeted,” where digital overtakes analog. Most of the songs don’t have lyrics and none follow traditional pop structures. The melodies and instrumentation scream pop and everything else screams IDM. It’s this tug-of-war between the two genres that makes for such a compelling listen.

Not following traditional structures allows Snaith to fill the songs with all of the special moments normal pop songs deliver with a planned attack. The payoff here is that you never have to wait for the big chorus to arrive—the ten songs on Up in Flames have one right after the other, each as special as the last.

The two standout tracks are “Bijoux” and “Skunks,” the former swirling with music boxes and horns and breaking into big percussive phrases, and the latter cycling between a simple guitar melody and frogs and passages with an acoustic drum kit keeping time and dueling horns and flutes each trying to outdo each other for space in the mix.

With Up in Flames, Snaith has unleashed a serious contender for album of the year. Recommended for sunny days, driving with the windows down.

MP3s and streams available on Manitoba’s audio page.

James Yorkston and the Athletes – Moving Up Country

James Yorkston and The AthletesMoving Up Country (Domino Recordings)

Gathering at a farmhouse in his native Scotland with an intimate group of musicians, James Yorkston has created an album of folk melody that glows like embers in a stone fire. With fiddle, mandolin, concertina, accordian, hand drums, Rhodes, lap steel, violin, and whistles rounding out Yorkston’s own acoustic guitar, Going Up Country is the perfect record for sitting in rainy windows while wearing a sweater. With elements of Nick Drake, Belle & Sebastian, Mojave 3, and English and Irish folk music travelling through the album, Yorkston never lets his sometimes obvious influences take over his quietly desperate songs. “St. Patrick” is an immediate favorite, with its pretty, lilting violin melody, as is “Moving Up The Country, Roaring The Gospel,” which evokes the opening credits to some unnamed early 70’s period film featuring men in derbys driving around in Model E’s on country roads. Or maybe I’m just thinking about the video for “Say Say Say.”